Expanding the Career Center

The career center is always bustling with visitors, and our email inboxes are constantly flooded with career-related information. It’s common to catch a glimpse of students dressing in suits for interviews and attending informational sessions in between meals, practices and homework. It’s the height of internship and job-hunting season. In recent years the career center’s ample resources for business and health students have gotten even better, and students who wish to go into these fields have a robust array of mentoring opportunities and recruiting events to choose from. But there is still a noticeable lack of opportunities for students wishing to pursue other career paths.

Some of the most popular majors at the college include economics, English, psychology, political science and history. This clearly indicates that Amherst students have a diverse range of interests. And although Amherst is a college where pre-meds can be English majors and psych majors can be investment bankers, surely not all of these students plan to a pursue in the finance/business and health professions. Especially for students who lack a sure sense of the field they’ll ultimately settle into, this hole in the resources can be a disadvantage as they struggle to find their niche in the job market. The students who are exploring other options are likely the ones who could use the career center’s guidance the most.

It’s nearly impossible to attend an informational session on internships in communications on this campus, let alone find an internship on Quest or other career-related portals Amherst offers. Students interested in fields like actuarial science, human resources and art history, to name a few, are essentially on their own to land internship opportunities in these fields. There is no adviser in the fast-growing technology industry to guide our talented computer science majors. Many students, as a result, meander for a while and take a look at consulting interview preparation book or valuation models to have a shot at these on-campus interviews, which then becomes the most feasible career path based on the frequency of resources and events relevant to this field. The great resources that the career center does provide is not to be dismissed, but rather modeled and simply applied to a wider range of careers. For example, the immersive education opportunities provided by the career center are unique and impressive. It’s clear that every possible future career an Amherst student might hold cannot be covered, but providing more immersive and comprehensive opportunities is a good starting place.

We often wonder, then, whether some students are trapped into choosing a certain path because Amherst seems to be encouraging it through well-established alumni connections. We recognize the potential of the career center and its ability to connect students to more alumni resources. That is why the editorial board challenges the career center to expand and meet this standard in underrepresented career fields to make sure that in the end, we feed talented and diverse Amherst students into a diverse set of career paths.